By Keno Sultan
CANTON—The Massillon Tigers and Timken Trojans are fielding relatively young teams this season.
For the Tigers, they had a chance to keep the Trojans without a triumph by obtaining a victory in their first of two trips to the Canton Memorial Field House. However, a game-turning 13-0 run in the second quarter was too much of a chasm for the Tigers to emerge out of and it translated into a 58-55 loss that put Massillon's record at 1-1 on the season.
After a feeling out session between the two teams in the opening quarter, the defending Division I Canton district finalists used their quickness and long arms to fluster Massillon into a rash of turnovers and at one point held the visitors scoreless over a four-minute span as they burst open an 18-18 tie and turned it into a 31-18 advantage and from then on controlled the contest.
What also hurt the Tigers in the first half was an abysmal 1 of 11 shooting from three-point range in the first half that bothered second-year head coach Larry Taylor.
“The game got away from us a little bit. Timken beat us to the punch and it's hard to defend them once they get to the glass and basket,” a dejected Taylor said. “We bounced back in the second half but we have to play better defense for 32 minutes.”
When asked why he didn't expend a timeout when the Tigers deficit eventually reached 19 points, Taylor put the situation in perspective.
“We were not able to adjust to something we had not seen. Timken head coach Rick Hairston did a great job with those guys. We were able to adjust in the second half and get back in the game. I was proud of the effort but disappointed in the outcome.”
For the Trojans, it was a blessing for them to return home. After commencing with three losses all on the road to defending Division I state champion Pickerington Central, Wooster, and Manchester, Timken needed a victory for their salve and used a asphyxiating defense along with multiple drives to the basket against Massillon's porous interior.
Hairston summed up the evening for his winning Trojans, who are now 1-3 on the young season.
“We have men with no experience at all. We graduated our entire team last year. We were able to take care of the ball tonight and get some stops,” he said. “Massillon is in the same boat as we are. Coach Taylor will have his team winning some games this year. Our goal is to continue to get better.”
Brody Tonn led the Massillon charge with 17 points while Jordan Stock scored 12 and D'Angelo Stewart assisted with 10.
Massillon will have no time to ponder about the loss. Their home opener is Tuesday evening against East Cleveland Shaw and Taylor attests his team will need to have a short-term memory.
“We need to have a great two days of practice and we are going to work on our ball pressure and taking care of the basketball. You can't have turnovers like we did and win a game like that,” Taylor said.
JV game: Massillon 51, Timken 50
CANTON—In a game that featured big plays from both teams, Massillon had the final word as a three-point shot late gave them a one-point lead that they never relinquished in improving their record to 2-0 on the season.
“This was a game where we faced adversity,” Massillon head coach Murray Hooten said. “I told our players it was time to come together. We got the win as a team and for that I am glad,” he said.